How Podcasts Fit in the Audio Ad Landscape

Podcasts have exploded in popularity in recent years, with millions of listeners streaming their favorite programs on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. Not surprisingly, companies have found that podcasts are fertile ground for impactful advertising that truly resonates with consumers. 
Of course, podcasts are still part of the larger “audio ecosystem” when it comes to marketing. Business owners and managers who understand exactly how podcasts fit into the advertising landscape will be in prime position to use them most effectively — and grow their business as a result.
In this post, we’ll dive into the role podcasts play in the audio ad world to help you understand more about what they are and how they can help your business.

Understanding the Broad World of Audio Ads

It’s important to realize that audio advertising consists of radio, digital audio, and podcasts, all of which reach listeners in distinct ways. For example, radio is perhaps still the medium with the broadest reach, as millions of people tune in to hear their favorite programs or listen to news and music during their daily commute. Digital audio (such as via streaming services) tends to target more specific demographics than radio. In turn, podcasts often reach the most attentive and responsive audience segments.
The most significant divide between how customers interact with audio ads boils down to choice. Both digital audio and podcasts allow customers to choose when and what they’re listening to, while radio programming is pre-set by a studio. In any event, well-placed audio ads can be up to 36% more memorable than video ads since they’re targeting consumers who are already attentive to the current program (and perhaps favorably inclined towards a radio personality or podcast host).

Reviewing Podcast Ad Formats

Podcast ad formats have definite overlap with radio and digital audio, although they obviously must fit within the recording parameters of the podcast. They typically fall within one of two categories:

    1. Pre-recorded Ads
    These 15- to 30-second ads can be dynamically inserted into podcasts via streaming platforms. They can be scaled easily, often take up less time, and increase targeting capabilities (when dynamically inserted). Programmatic ads like these can yield valuable data for your marketing plan, both in terms of podcasts specifically and in a broader strategic sense.
    2. Host-read Sponsorship Ads
    These are similar to radio sponsorships. The podcast host reads the ad and adjusts the message to resonate with the audience. These ads fit organically within the programming and may increase the audience’s appreciation for and engagement with the brand. According to some research, sponsorship ads can increase positive brand perception by 62%.

The Impact of Ad Placement

In addition to understanding the different podcast ad formats available, it’s vital to discern how ad placement can affect listener attention and engagement. Think about the three typical examples of ad placement below:

    • Pre-roll ads. These are played at the start of the podcast (or at least early in the podcast, perhaps during the introductory stage). Placing your audio ad here is a great way to gain listener attention because people are less likely to skip through at the beginning of an episode.
    • Mid-roll ads. These are played midway through the episode. These often gain the most attention from listeners since people are already deeply involved in the episode (and possibly other activities) and can’t easily skip through them.
    • Post-roll ads. These are played towards the end or after the podcast episode has finished. These ads are often skipped if people listen to only one podcast episode at a time; however, they are more likely to be played through if people queue up multiple podcasts (such as multiple episodes in the same series).

Choosing the Best Podcast Ad to Grow Your Business

Which ad format you choose will depend on your business goals, the makeup of your audience, your budget, and several other factors. Of course, the same basic objectives apply across all business sectors – to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately increase sales. 
As you explore your options in podcast advertising, remember that a skilled media partner can help guide you toward making the best possible decisions for your brand. As you grow in your understanding of podcast ads and how they fit into the larger audio landscape, you’ll be able to leverage your marketing budget more effectively and grow your business for years to come.

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